(Left to right) Mohammed Al Ardhi (National Bank of Oman Deputy Chairman), Salaam Al Shaksy (National Bank of Oman CEO) and Nick Tarratt (European Tour International Director, Dubai Office) at the official launch of the National Bank of Oman Golf Classic (EuropeanTour)
The Sultanate of Oman will make its debut on the European Challenge Tour when the National Bank of Oman Golf Classic is staged for the first time at Almouj Golf, The Wave in Muscat from October 24-27, 2013.
Sponsored by National Bank of Oman, the tournament will be the first Challenge Tour event of its kind not only in the Sultanate of Oman but also in the Gulf Cooperation Council as the Challenge Tour continues to bring the game to emerging golf nations around the world.
Already, the Challenge Tour has ventured successfully to places as far afield as Colombia, Egypt, India, Kazakhstan, Kenya and Russia and a first foray to Oman, the 45th country visited by the Challenge Tour, marks another step into new territories.
With its place on the 2013 calendar confirmed as the last event before the season-ending Challenge Tour Grand Final, the US$300,000 National Bank of Oman Golf Classic is set to attract a top class field of 84 professionals with a further 30 invites available to the title sponsors, including ten for low handicap amateurs.
Alain de Soultrait, Director of the European Challenge Tour, said: “We are absolutely delighted to be bringing the Challenge Tour to Oman and these are exciting times for us as it is the first time we have ever visited this part of the world.
“As the penultimate event of the 2013 Challenge Tour season, the National Bank of Oman Golf Classic will be a crucial tournament for our players and even more so thanks to the large prize fund.
“We must thank National Bank of Oman and its Deputy Chairman Mohammed Mahfoodh Al Ardhi for offering the Challenge Tour this unique opportunity. We also hope Oman’s national players will take full benefit of the possibility of competing against the Challenge Tour players.”
Mr Salaam Al Shaksy, NBO’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “As title sponsor for the next three years, National Bank of Oman looks forward to welcoming the players and officials for the first ever Challenge Tour event in Oman.
“At National Bank of Oman, we are proud of the steps this country has taken with the launch of Almouj Golf, The Wave - the first Professional Golf Association (PGA) championship course in the country. With the support of the Oman Golf Committee led by Sayyid Arqam Al Busaidi, Oman will become the 45th country to be visited by the Challenge Tour.
“The Government, under the guidance of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said, continues to strive to strengthen the country’s position as an international tourism destination and at National Bank of Oman we believe in playing our part in that vision.
“Over the coming months we will work hand in hand with our colleagues in the Ministry of Sports, Ministry of Tourism and Muscat Municipality to give the Sultanate an event that will stand out as one of the best and most professional on the Challenge Tour calendar. Such global attention on Oman and this Greg Norman-designed course can only benefit all of us who believe in the international promotion of the Sultanate.
“The presence of co-sponsors and supporters will be hugely important in the overall success of the National Bank of Oman Golf Classic and I look forward to inviting and meeting corporates, private organisations and international brands who wish to play their part in projecting a polished and professional image to the world.
“Their contribution and partnership will be a suitable endorsement to the progress being made here in the Sultanate. In addition, by promoting golf in Oman, we can all play a key role in encouraging a future generation of young Omanis who can only be inspired to go on and try and emulate the players they will see over the next three years at Almouj Golf, The Wave.”